An Office Needs a Multiplicity of Windows

I got paid for my new role for the first time today, which is a relief. Now I am economically connected to the institution. One thing I’ve observed being noted by most existing staff when they visit me in my new office is that it doesn’t have a window and that I don’t have a name on the door (rather it has a sheet of paper says ‘Journalism 9B08’ with the 08 crossed out and a handwritten 34 beside it). None of this is too much of a concern for me. The window, of course, is a signifier of prestige, while the lack of a name on the door bespokes a deficient professionalism. What I’ve been far more concerned with is developing a ‘window’ on my pevious research and thinking and developing it into journal article length arguments.

This other ‘window’ is not a hole in the wall, but both a discursive framing and a question of visibility across a number of registers. I guess it is a common problem for anyone entering into academia from a professional background and it is compounded if, like me, the new entrant has carried out extensive research in the past. My research has become far more fluid. Sure my dissertation was organised a central argument regarding the character of enthusiasm within the subcultural scene of modified-car culture and an historical investigation into the way enthusiasm has been turned into a resource by the cultural industries that service a given scene, but I also produced a huge amount of other material. This blog served as one of the sites of ‘overflow’ of research and thinking, but I have dozens and dozens of other pieces of work that only exist on my computer.

The challenge for me right now is to produce what Deleuze and Guattari call a ‘plane of consistency’ that enables me to organise the different threads of my existing work and adapt them to the context of the current state of various research fields. My scholarly disposition will therefore by an expression of the ‘virtual office’ that emerges on this plane of consistency. The ‘virtual office’ will be actualised according to the ways my research can connect with the current state of various research fields. In effect, I shall be producing multiple ‘windows’ on this research.

My main two interests now involve positioning a concept of enthusiasm that is useful as a tool for other researchers and critically engaging with the niche magazine publishing industry based on my archival research, but influenced by my professional experience.

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